Seasons greetings from Eastside

Dear friends,

Seasons greetings to you and your families. Throughout 2021 Eastside has worked hard to overcome all of the challenges caused by the lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and the ever changing set of guidelines needed to work safely with young people.  We have achieved a huge amount, and our impacts on the young people we work so hard to support has been evident. 

In the Autumn term of this year alone we have provided 435,274 total hours of creative learning to a total of 11,246 participants across the country. These figures are particularly rewarding given the challenges that teachers and schools face in providing creative opportunities for their students. 

We have challenged ourselves to think ‘outside of the box’, to find new ways of inspiring teachers and empowering young people to unlock their creative potential in these difficult times.  As part of that work, we were delighted to launch Eastside Online, a true highlight of the year – a new online service available to teachers and schools across the UK (and beyond). This has allowed us to work with a much wider audience through providing termly, artist-led creative livestream workshops, annual teacher networking and creative CPD events, plus 12 interactive pre-recorded creative video lessons delivering against KS2 & KS3 national curriculum outcomes for UK schools. It was joyful to relaunch our live school’s workshops programme, achieving a brilliant uptake of our Black History Month offer, allowing so many children and teachers access to our talented artists and practitioner teams. Additionally, the Creative Southwark Schools programme saw the creation of ten truly remarkable videos featuring primary children portraying life during the pandemic in artistic ways.

Undaunted by the challenges of filming remotely, our film and digital programmes also got back into action. The Eastside BFI Film Academy, the Females in Film programme and the more recent Environmental Filmmakers Project, tied to COP26, all supported young people to create inspirational creative content. If you haven’t had a chance yet, grab a mince pie and hot drink, find a cosy corner for 15 minutes and have a look at the inspiring short films, Home Into Sea, A Plant’s Life, Chocolate and How To Own An Island. Our Females in Film mentoring programme, generously supported by Adobe, saw 10 emerging young female filmmakers work closely with our Eastside mentors for 5 months before showcasing their final productions at a special online event.

We are looking forward to a busy start to the New Year with the Spoken Word Power (SWP) launch event taking place on 11th January at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly. It’s not too late to apply to attend the launch, please email andrew@eastside.org.uk.

Finally, tickets for our star-studded ‘April Foolery’ gala fundraising event, featuring Hugh Dennis, Simon Brodkin and The Showstoppers at the Lund Theatre, UCS on 12th April 2022 including a drinks reception and entertainment are available from Eventbrite. All proceeds from the event will be reinvested into Eastside activities meaning that we will be able to continue to support young people to access creative opportunities in communities where our support is needed most.  Please don’t miss out – these tickets are like gold dust and will sell out fast!

On a personal note, I would like to give thanks to our team, our young participants, teachers, schools, artists and the wider community that we have worked with over the last year.  Thanks are due to our wonderful funders and donors – we wouldn’t be here without you.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2022 to you and your family.

Matt and the whole Eastside team

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